Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Existentialists in shorts," creating meaning on the run

"Running wasn't just exercise or a hobby, or even necessarily competition, for them. Basically they were existentialists is shorts. I wanted to be one, too." -Scott Jurek, "Eat & Run."

Sometimes you create meaning with each step of a run. Sometimes with none. Mostly it's a happy medium.

I start out noticing every step. The impact on landing, the effort to move my legs. The first part of a run is an in-body experience. Everyday mind.

Each step moves further into consciousness. The body starts to fade into the background. The mind wanders. Wanders with the music. Wanders, thoughts flitting like birds out of mind. The breath is still there, and the movement. The body doesn't hurt, yet. I don't notice the miles or effort.

Then it comes back, the body. The breath reconnects, the legs are pumping, the arms, everything is in sync, connected, but different from when I started.

On long runs I can drift between these states--in body, out. On those, exhilaration can meet delirium.

I am running right behind some deep revelation, something life changing, if I can only run a little faster, reach out and catch it, grab it, tackle it.

But it's rarely about that revelation. I'm not generally fast enough to catch it. It's then that I get that it's the first step where we create meaning in a run, and every step after, not just some elusive magical step.

It's the knowledge that two, four, 10, 20, 50 miles are underfoot, logged by will, effort, discipline. I've put some order on one small part of the day, in my own way. I've seen things that no one sitting inside got to see. I've lived. I've reminded my mind-body-soul that we are free and mobile, sometimes. When we ask.

*Co-posted from The 4-1-Run blog.


Runners on Trails said...

Yay, a post from our in house poet! Good to hear from you. I can't wait to read Jurek's new book.

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